A HAMPSHIRE vicar is opposing plans to sell alcohol for up to 16 hours a day at a supermarket being built beside her church.

The Rev Jo Elvidge is among the people objecting to an application submitted by Lidl, which is only months away from opening a £7m store in the centre of Hythe.

Lidl’s application to sell alcohol between 7am and 11pm is due to go before New Forest District Council today.


Ms Elvidge is the vicar of St John’s Church, which is next door to the new supermarket.

In a letter to the council she says: “The availability of cheap alcohol for up to 16 hours a day seven days a week will increase the risk of anti-social behaviour.”

Other objectors include Peter Lawson, secretary of the Parochial Church Council.

His letter says: “The Lidl store is in a conservation area adjacent to a Grade II-listed church and surrounded by housing, including 36 retirement flats.

“We believe all these properties and residents will be adversely affected by the Lidl proposal.”

A letter sent by Andrew and Patricia Pearce, of New Road, Hythe, lists some of the problems already being experienced by people in the area.

It says: “We regularly have cans and bottles thrown into the garden. We have had damage to cars parked in the drive and also along the road. We are regularly woken by drunks going home.

“If youths take advantage of buying cheap alcohol late into the evening our problems will escalate.

“If they choose to ‘hang out’ near the premises the car park and adjoining churchyard will be used as a toilet.”


Several councillors have also objected including Eric Davey, vice-chairman of Hythe and Dibden Parish Council.

A Lidl spokesman said: “We are committed to selling alcohol responsibly in all our stores and would like to reassure local residents that our store will operate a ‘Think 25’ policy, to ensure alcohol is not sold to under-age customers.”

The supermarket is due to open early next year in a move that will create 40 full and part-time jobs.

Lidl’s initial application was turned down by the district council, with one member describing the proposed store as a “large tin box” that resembled buildings normally found on industrial estates.

Lidl later submitted a revised scheme which aimed to ensure the supermarket blended in St John’s and other historic buildings in the village.